As travelers return to airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced new rules and precautions to reduce the spread of coronavirus or any kind of germs amongst travelers and employees.
“In the interest of TSA frontline workers and traveler health, TSA is committed to making prudent changes to our screening processes to limit physical contact and increase physical distance as much as possible,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement Thursday. “We continue to evaluate our security measures with an eye towards making smart, timely decisions benefiting health and safety, as well as the traveler experience.”
The new protocol begins when travelers first enter the TSA area where they will now scan their own boarding passes at security checkpoints instead of handing them over to TSA employees to examine.
When it comes time for belongings to go through the X-ray scanner, passengers are even more encouraged to check their luggage for prohibited items, like liquids, gels or aerosols larger than 3.4 ounces. Passengers whose luggage is found to contain a prohibited item may be asked to remove the item themselves before putting the bag back on the conveyor belt.
However now, the new exception to the longtime 3.4 ounces rule is hand sanitizer as passengers are now allowed to carry containers up to 12 ounces. The TSA has instructed that passengers remove the hand sanitizer out of their bags before it passes through X-ray screening. A similar policy is in place for food. If you’re taking meals or snacks through security, they should be placed in a clear plastic bag and placed in a separate tray from luggage.
When loading your items onto security trays, take care to put personal belongings like your phone, keys, wallet or belt inside your bag and not directly on the tray. This small measure will decrease the possibility of cross-contamination.
As the TSA has found that passengers have slowly been returning since late April, anyone heading to the airport for the first time in months will definitely notice some changes at several checkpoints as officers will be wearing masks, gloves or face shields, and several stations also have plastic shields installed at traveler interaction points like bag searches and drop-off locations.
Los Angeles International Airport is also requiring that all passengers wear masks throughout the airport, in addition to most airlines now requiringpassengers to do so.